Ecosocialist Notebook
Metabolic Rift

Disrupting the nitrogen cycle: Articles on a major metabolic rift

How the global nitrogen cycle has been disrupted by an economic system that values profits more than life itself.


I’ve been very pleased by the positive comments I’ve received from C&C readers about my articles on the disruption of the nitrogen cycle. Several of you asked to have them all accessible from one place, so they could share the link with others. Here they are. 

I intend to write one or two more articles on this subject: I will add them to this list when they are published. As always, I’d be very pleased to receive any criticisms, corrections or suggestions.


Part One: Nitrogen Crisis: A neglected threat to Earth’s life support systems

 How the natural nitrogen cycle works, and why it is critical to all life on Earth

Part Two: Nitrogen glut: Too much of a good thing is deadly for the biosphere

How the nitrogen cycle was radically disrupted in the 20th century

Part Three: Capitalism ‘Solves’ the Nitrogen Crisis: A Brief History 

Plundering the third world created the fossil nitrogen era 

Part Four: How Capitalism ‘Solved’ the Nitrogen Crisis (continued)

How military technology turned the nitrogen shortage into an environmentally destructive glut

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Posted in Ecosoc Notebook, History, Marxist Ecology, Metabolic Rift, Science

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